Health and Sport Sciences

Faculty Mentor: Brandt Pence 

Faculty Mentor’s Department: School of Health Studies 

Email Address: bdpence@memphis.edu  

Project Description: The Pence lab has several funded projects, and the student will be able to select from these options. Two American Heart Association grants are currently ongoing examining (1) the biological mechanisms by which aging impacts immune function, and (2) the role of immune cell metabolism in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. A grant from the FedEx Institute supports a study examining how a dietary polyphenol can block inflammatory responses in immune cells, and a grant from the American College of Sports Medicine supports a study examining the association between exercise training and mitochondrial function in immune cells in older adults. 

Requirements for Student Applicants: Sophomore through Senior standing. Open to any majors, with preference for students with interests in pursuing graduate school in health or biological sciences. Consistent availability in the mornings is a plus. 

Application Process: Submit unofficial transcripts and fall course schedule. Finalists will have a brief face-to-face meeting with Dr. Pence. 

Hours per Week: 10-15 hours or as available. 

Starting Date: ASAP

Faculty Mentor: Max R. Paquette. PhD

Department: School of Health Studies

Contact Information: mrpqette@memphis.edu

Project Description: The aim of this project is to assess the acute and chronic effects of using a newly-developed training tool on biomechanical and performance measures in recreational athletes. For this project, athletes will be tested before and after training with and without the training tool.

Student Requirements: The student should be enrolled in exercise, sport and movement sciences (ESMS), or biomedical engineering. Experience with Microsoft office suite (especially excel) is necessary. Completion of coursework in biomechanics or anatomic kinesiology is also desired.

Hours/Week: 20 hours

Start Date: TBD

Method of Compensation: Volunteer or Summer Research Program

Application Process: Students interested in volunteering should email Dr. Paquette.  

Faculty Mentor: Douglas Powell, PhD

Department: School of Health Studies

Contact Information: douglas.powell@memphis.edu; 901-678.5209; 309 Fieldhouse

Project Description: The purpose of this study is two-fold: (1) identify the relationship between foot structure and lower extremity biomechanics (including joint kinematics and kinetics) during dynamic movements, (2) identify the efficacy of common clinical interventions in altering lower extremity biomechanics including shoe type, orthotic intervention and ankle bracing during athletic movements.

Student Requirements: Ideal applicants should have taken ESMS 3020, ESMS 3410, and ESMS 3415.  However, students in biology or biomedical engineering are welcome to apply.  Preference will be given to applicants interested in health- and exercise-related research.

Hours/Week: Variable

Start Date: Immediately

Method of Compensation:  Volunteer 

Application: Unofficial Transcript, Statement of Interest

Faculty Mentor: Brandt Pence

Department: School of Health Studies

Contact Information: 901-678-3407; bdpence@memphis.edu

Project Description: Research in my laboratory focuses on the impact of aging on immune function.  Specifically, we are studying monocytes, an innate immune cell, to determine mechanisms by which aging affects their function and increases inflammation.  Currently, we are examining the role of mitochondrial metabolism in monocytes to determine if mitochondrial dysfunction underlies the pro-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects of aging.

Requirements for Student Applicants: Open to students of any major with an interest in health or biomedical sciences. Students will preferably be sophomores or juniors with some laboratory experience through their coursework (e.g. biology or chemistry lab courses).  No formal research experience is required.

Application Process: Submit unofficial transcripts and a short description of career.  An informal interview may be conducted if multiple students indicate an interest in the lab.

Hours Per Week: 10

Start Date: By arrangement

Method of Compensation:  Volunteer 

Faculty  Mentor: Melissa Puppa

Department: School of Health Studies, Exercise Sport and Movement Science

Contact Information:  901-678-3419; mpuppa@memphis.edu

Project Description:   Skeletal muscle plays a vital role in the maintenance of systemic health. To better understand the influence of chronic disease on skeletal muscle health, we use a variety of models including mammalian muscle tissue and cell culture to examine the effects of different diets on muscle protein turnover and mitochondrial capacity in various disease conditions including cancer and obesity. Students will learn techniques to isolate protein and RNA from samples as well as western blot and PCR analysis to quantify changes in gene expression and protein expression.

Requirements for Student Applicants: Students should have a basic understanding of physiology/biology. Students need to have close attention to details, be able to work well with others as well as independently, and keep clear written records. Students must also be able to read and understand scientific literature. Students should be in good academic standings with the university.

Application or Interview Process: Cover letter, resume, letter of reference, unofficial transcripts

Hours per week the student will work: 15h/week

Start Date: This project is ongoing so the start date is flexible.

Method of Compensation: Volunteer

Faculty Mentor: Chidambaram Ramanathan

Department: College of Health Sciences

Contact Information: rchdmbrm@memphis.edu, 901-678-1424

Project Description: We are living in an about 24-hour dynamic environment composing of 12-hour lights and 12 darkness. Most of our physiological and behavioral processes are rhythmically expressed in a 24-hour cycle and regulated by an intrinsic circadian clock in our body. Synchronization of our daily activity and rest with the day and night cycles is essential for maintaining a healthy life. When there is a desynchronized cycle between our internal clock with the external world due to shift work, late-night eating, and irregular sleep scheduling, leading to metabolic, cardiovascular, premature aging, and sleep disorders. It is well known how the circadian clock works at the molecular level, but little known how the clock regulates these physiological processes at the molecular, cellular, tissue, and organismal level. My lab focuses on how the circadian clock regulates the metabolic disease and the aging-related process.

Requirements for Student Applicants: Nutrition and biology background specialized cellular nutrition, molecular biology, and biochemistry

Application or Interview Process: Letter of Interest/Cover Letter, Interview

Hours per week the student will work: 15

Start Date: 9/1/2020